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Prepare Today. Lead Tomorrow. Photo: R Gauthier

Whether they know it or not, students stay with the teacher after they leave the studio.

Their successes warm our hearts, and their struggles keep us concerned all week.

To the beloved student who came in today, disheartened about studying the violin, about handling the pressure that seems to be coming at you from all angles, about how remote your student experience feels from the ideal life you envision: I hear you.

Not long after your lesson, I stepped outside the building, sad, having too many emotions and thoughts fighting in my head and heart. I was not sure how good a job I had done connecting with you, figuring out ways to convey hope and courage to you.

A few feet out of the building, I looked up and saw this, posted everywhere around the campus:

“Prepare Today. Lead Tomorrow.”

I was struck. These four words embody perfectly the idea I was so clumsily trying to communicate to you. Let me try again.

To you, dear student, with all my love:

You feel as though everyone is asking you to be perfect – the perfect student, violinist, person. You feel as though you are getting lost in the requirements of the process. The next paper, the next test, the next lesson. You feel the world expects you to be a certain way.

Don’t let your perception fool you: you don’t have to be anyone but who you already are and who you wish to become in the future.

It’s not about what you think others are expecting of you. It’s not about being perfect or fit a specific mold or follow the beaten path.

It’s about you acquiring the tools to reach excellence in your chosen path. It’s about you keeping sight of what your goals are and understanding how the process you are in right now can help you achieve those. How the current route can serve your future self. How what you’re learning here fits YOUR grand scheme.

Make the process personal. Find yourself in each step, figure out how each stage serves your purpose, brings you closer to your dreams. Try to see the ways in which every exercise, every assignment, every test is related to your vision. Each one of those gives you access to more skill, knowledge, and experience.

Then you can soar and share those gifts with the people whose life you aim to touch and impact.

We aim to give you the alphabet, the vocabulary, and the grammar. You write the poem.

Hard times are guaranteed no matter what path you choose. When things seem tough, dig in, find YOU, and work hard, courageously, for YOU. Don’t expect it to be easy. Welcome challenges, face them fiercely, and see how strong and creative they make you!

You can! I know, because I’ve seen you do it! And I’ve seen the smile on your face when you get to the top of the mountain, sweaty, scrapped, tough, and exhilarated! Prepare today, and lead tomorrow!

Thank you for reminding me to keep the bigger discussion going, for making me think about what is important. xoxo

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